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MCPH1: a window into brain development and evolution

By Jeannette eNardelli, Nathalie eJourniac, Yoko eArai and Jeremy ePulvers


The development of the mammalian cerebral cortex involves a series of mechanisms: from patterning, progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation, to neuronal migration. Many factors influence the development of the cerebral cortex to its normal size and neuronal composition. Of these, the mechanisms that influence the proliferation and differentiation of neural progenitor cells are of particular interest, as they may have the greatest consequence on brain size, not only during development but also in evolution. In this context, causative genes of human autosomal recessive primary microcephaly, such as ASPM and MCPH1, are attractive candidates, as many of them show positive selection during primate evolution. MCPH1 causes microcephaly in mice and humans and is involved in a diverse array of molecular functions beyond brain development, including DNA repair and chromosome condensation. Positive selection of MCPH1 in the primate lineage has led to much insight and discussion of its role in brain size evolution. In this review, we will present an overview of MCPH1 from these multiple angles, and whilst its specific role in brain size regulation during development and evolution remain elusive, the pieces of the puzzle will be discussed with the aim of putting together the full picture of this fascinating gene

Topics: human, Brain Development, brain evolution, mouse models, MCPH, MCPH1, Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry, RC321-571
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.3389/fncel.2015.00092
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:0ad31f43cb61403a9fe063661698473f
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